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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

PM Sogavare rejects Opposition's sabotage claim

By George Herming

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare today rejects an opposition claim suggesting his government has “sabotaged” the justice system of Solomon Islands.

Opposition leader Fred Fono told local TV last night his group is convinced the Sogavare government had “politically manipulated” the justice system in relation to a magistrate court decision last year freeing Julian Moti off immigration charges against him.

Mr Fono further alleged that the dismissal of ex police commissioner Shane Castles was linked to investigations into the Moti affair.

But Mr Sogavare was unmoved by those accusations today saying justice was already applied by the court decision that freed Mr Moti. He instead urges people (including Mr Fono) to respect the court which fairly and independently made its decision.

“It’s laughable to say we “sabotage” the justice system. All these matters are done procedurally through relevant and appropriate constitutional provisions,” Mr Sogavare said.

The Prime Minister said responsible authorities who use those lawful powers have invoked them through the court.

“There’s nothing really wrong with them. If the court system is what we should respect, then the court has already spoken,” said Mr Sogavare.

He said every citizen of the country is duty bound to respect important institutions like the courts.

“If we do not, then that’s the end of law and order and the justice system of the country,” he warned.

The Prime Minister also dismissed Opposition allegations linking the Moti affair to the dismissal of Mr Castles in December. He said the Opposition leader is only trying to score points but lacks evidence to empower his claims.

“This is just narrowing down matters to a particular issue which in their thinking is just to catch public attention. It’s a normal thing that people who want to win arguments would like to use issues that appeals to the public,” he said.

Mr Sogavare reiterated that the Moti affair has nothing to do with the December declaration of Mr Castles as an Undesirable Immigrant.

Source: GCU

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